We don’t call ourselves a global brand for nothing. ExperiencePoint workshops are delivered around the world, by facilitators who work in a range of markets and industries. We are proud to have a network of nearly 3000 partners—a huge community of people with a shared passion for innovation and change.
That’s why we’ve launched Around the World, an interview series that highlights the experience of a different facilitator each quarter. By speaking with workshop leaders in different locations, we’ll get a sense of how market and industry priorities can shift depending on where you are and how regional differences might impact your approach to facilitation.
This quarter, we touched base with Kiara De Olazabal Coz, the Virtual Workshop Production Manager at ExperiencePoint. In the following interview, Kiara describes her journey of starting out as a novice facilitator and developing into a confident workshop leader. Originally from Peru, Kiara also shares her knowledge of business training opportunities in Latin America.
- What are market opportunities in some of the countries where you’ve facilitated workshops?
In my recent experience facilitating in Latin America, I’ve seen many businesses impacted by socio-political uncertainty and the unstable economy. They’re in need of cost-efficient solutions. These businesses believe in innovation and change management as a way to weather difficult periods and emerge stronger. They were willing to invest in both training and organizational change with the aim of improving products and internal operations and adapting to the changing market.
- You have extensive experience in the training sector. Which industries do you work with the most? What opportunities were these clients excited about?
Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of working with diverse industries, including consumer goods, telecommunications, government, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, banking, oil and gas. My clients are eager to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in innovation and change management; they’re constantly seeking new ways of working that can add value to their business.
- What is your favorite ExperiencePoint workshop to deliver?
I thoroughly enjoyed facilitating ExperienceInnovation™ Aware. It is such a fun and engaging workshop that allows participants to gain an understanding of human-centered design and approach business challenges with empathy. Even when participants come to the workshop with little-to-no prior knowledge, they leave the room feeling confident and capable of tackling business challenges.
My favorite part of the innovation process is prototyping. I always encourage participants to use their imaginations and have fun with this phase. Participants often surprise me with their out-of-the-box ideas, and it's always a joy to witness their creativity in action. Seeing participants bond with each other by collaborating and exchanging ideas is incredibly rewarding for me.
Prototyping in an ideation design thinking session with a technology company
- Can you share a memorable success story from a workshop you delivered?
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a social impact project as the facilitator of a design thinking workshop for a group of government employees and emergency-response personnel in Peru. The objective was to identify areas for improvement in dealing with emergencies and natural disasters. I interviewed users from different cities in order to understand their pain points and design a solution that addressed their needs. The solution was a prototype for a mobile app that could alert the Peruvian population in the case of an emergency. We presented it to the relevant committee in a ready-to-go format. The hope is that the app will let people report emergencies and get help faster wherever they are. It was incredibly rewarding to work on.
A design thinking workshop that empowered women in technology
- What tips can you offer for keeping workshop participants focused and engaged?
The key is to feel passionate about what you are teaching – you’ll immediately transfer that energy to the group. I’m energized when I see an engaged group of people enjoying the session, asking questions, sharing stories.
If I get a non-responsive group, I like using an icebreaker and asking everyone to turn on their cameras so that we can interact and engage better. Some participants might be initially less engaged due to competing priorities, which is understandable. To make the most of the training, I try my best to ensure that everyone sees its value and feels motivated to participate.
Challenging participants' thinking with Problem Statement in a design thinking workshop
- Have you ever had an experience where you facilitated in a culture you weren’t familiar with? What was it like? How did you handle it?
When I facilitated for the first time in Canada, I was a bit nervous because it was my first time facilitating in English and in a different culture from Latin America. I practiced a lot and was open to feedback from my colleagues and the expertise shared by master facilitators. (Thanks to Tom Merril and Chi Wright for their wonderful guidance!) I’m thankful to all the people who supported me during my preparation and encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. It made me feel prepared and comfortable.